Making Your Style Unique

This time of year, it seems that we are constantly busy and often attending more events than ever. It can feel like we – and our style – are on show night after night during this busy holiday season. Family gatherings and work Christmas parties bring the chance (and pressure) to shine. Honoring your personal style this holiday season shouldn’t be stressful; It isn’t about slavishly following the fashion magazines or spending a lot in the shops. It's about knowing yourself and your body. And it’s about having an eye for clever combinations and attention to detail. The good news is, that means that you can learn how to find your unique style and celebrate it - for the festive season and well into the New Year.

Find Your Festive Inspiration

Style is not at all about jumping on every trend bandwagon. But, if you are unsure where to begin it's a great first step to seek out some style inspirations. 

Make a list of celebrities, fashion industry figures or bloggers whose style inspires you. Use this to figure out what you like. Is it girl-next-door classics like Jennifer Aniston (can you tell I’ve been binging Friends, lately?!). Or is it more rock-chic like Carine Roitfeld? Bohemian and free spirited like Vanessa Hudgens or streetwear influenced like Rihanna? Find out the style that speaks to you. 

If there are elements from different styles that you like, so much the better. Combining different strands is super stylish, so if you want to do Kate Moss-meets-Beyonce then you can! Pinterest is a great tool for finding the styles that you like. Curate them into an inspiration board. You’ll probably start to see certain key themes and items of clothing cropping up repeatedly - these can be the building blocks of your style. Write down these common elements as you see them (it could be ‘black leather biker jacket’ or ‘pleated midi skirt’ or a pattern like ‘breton stripes’). If they keep popping up, these elements are clearly appealing to something in your character, and this makes them authentic for you. Real style is all about being true to yourself, no matter what is currently trending. When you’re being authentic, you’re likely to be comfortable and when you’re comfortable, you look great.

Clear Out The Clutter

Now you have a good idea of the look you’re aiming for, it's time to clear the decks. Most of us are guilty of having closets stuffed full of clothes and yet claiming we ‘have nothing to wear’. (Hello, me last Tuesday!) Why is this? Because we haven't been shopping with our personal style, lifestyle and goals in mind. Mindless shopping is the enemy of true style. You’ll need to cut out anything which doesn’t fit with your authentic style, so begin with a review of your clothes. If there is anything that hasn’t been worn for 12 months, you need to either donate or recycle it. If it doesn’t fit - with your style or with your body - it needs to go. If you find yourself holding onto an item, wavering between yes and no - go for no every time. Try to become instinctual about it rather than thinking about each item for too long. Create a pile of clothes to donate, a pile to recycle, a pile to sell if there’s anything worth selling, and a pile to keep. Then take a trip to the charity shop for good quality clothes, recycling bank for anything really worn, and if there are a couple of high-end pieces then consider using Vinted or eBay to sell them. The goal is typo rebuild and and refine your wardrobe with your style in mind.

Get Smart With Your Shopping 

Although shopping is something we all do, most of us do not shop strategically, and that leads to waste - of space, money, time and the environment. Shopping when it it's not smart is a bad idea. So, how do you shop clever? Before you start, take a look at that list you made - you should only be looking to purchase those key pieces you listed as the building blocks of your style. Don’t be distracted by trend items or spurious sales ‘bargains’ – these pieces can be a false bargain, if they don’t end up getting worn! It’s important to consider buying few items that are of better quality. This might mean spending more money upfront, but in the long run, you will be saving it by not snapping up a volume of cheaper, badly made clothes. These are going to be pieces for the long haul, not items which change every year. Do your research and shop around to find the perfect black blazer, or structured tote bag, or whatever item you know you need. If an item is a classic for you and fits with your style, consider it an investment. Check the hems and test the zips to make sure what you buy is well made and will stand the test of time. Wave goodbye to impulse buys and embrace the long game. You can add in some fun personalized pieces to make your style really unique - check out this post by BYOG for some more tips.

Add In The Lifestyle Factor 

As nice as it would be to only consider what looks good, in real life you need an element of practicality as well. What you do for a living, the climate and weather of where you live, and the lifestyle you lead all feed in to what clothes you will need. You may need clothes for parties and events or simply for walking the dog. You may work somewhere very corporate that needs a certain style of clothing or somewhere more creative where you can express your personality more. Looking across the different areas of your life, the aim should be to find versatile pieces that can tick multiple boxes for you and work hard in all the areas of your life. Think the perfect silky blouse that works with a pencil skirt for the office or with jeans at the weekend. Or that basic white tee that can be styled with a warm gilet for outdoor activities and with a silk neck scarf for coffee with friends.


The Secret to Affording Snazzy Clothes

With the holidays right around the corner and those catchy commercials in full swing, my shopping list just seems to be growing! But my bank account is totally disagreeing. The good news is, when it comes to affording luxury dresses and designer shoes, we don’t have to be rich. Sometimes it’s nice to treat yo’self – but it doesn’t require breaking the bank.

Save up, don’t borrow
Expensive clothing isn’t worth taking out a loan for (or even using a credit card – though, it’s totally tempting). It’s so fun to wear new things, but if they’ve put you in debt, you may regret the decision to buy them, which takes all of the fun out of wearing them. Instead, set a goal and make a plan to put aside a few dollars to save up for the luxuries you have your eye on. It helps to shop around to find the best bank for a savings account - the higher the interest rates, the quicker you’ll be able to afford that dream dress or that perfect pair of shoes. You can also try selling items in your wardrobe to save up the money.

Shop out of season
Without a doubt, my favorite place to shop is the clearance racks. You can often get discounts on designer clothing by shopping out of season. Winter coats tend to be cheaper in the summer and those fancy branded sunglasses and expensive swimwear are cheaper right after the cruise ships have set sail. Retailers may not always sell these items in stores, but you may be able to find them online. There are even sites that specialize in selling outof season clothing at discount prices.

Use luxury clothing hire companies
If you’re the type of person that only dresses up on the odd occasion, like me, owning luxury clothing could be a sad waste of money hanging unused in your closet. Instead, you could be better off hiring clothing. Luxurydress hire companies charge a tenth of the sale value, allowing you the experience of wearing a $500 dress for $50. Such clothes are professionally cleaned and pressed after every use so that they look brand new. Just make sure you return these items in time, otherwise you could face a hefty late charge. Some of these companies even allow you to buy items if you don’t want to return them, but often you’ll pay much more than were you to buy these items elsewhere (in other words, use rental companies for renting only!).

Never underestimate the power of thrifting
Thrifting is by far my favorite way to score “new-to-me” finds at a fraction of the price. Not only do I find unique pieces, but sometimes I score fancy items that are in great condition. You can also find great deals on used luxury clothing online through the likes of eBay and Amazon. The only caution I have for shopping for these finds online is that you can’t judge the condition as easily as you can in person. If you are going to buy an item online, make sure the seller is trusted and ensure that they’ve provided good quality images and a description of the condition. (You can always message them for more information if they haven’t supplied enough information.) Sites like Gumtree are worth trying as you can pick up items in person allowing you to inspect the condition in person. 

No matter which avenue you pursue, there are so many ways to check off your shopping list without breaking the bank!